Modern Australia was founded with the influx of European settlers just over two hundred years ago but the Aborigines inhabited the island continent for tens of thousands of years before that.

They numbered a few hundred thousand before the European influx. But two centuries of discrimination and expropriation followed and at one point the indigenous population fell as low as 60000.

Australia’s politicians at first looked to Europe and the US in foreign policy but in the past 20 years or so they have made their near neighbours a priority.